NPR's Ailsa Chang searches coastal California for wild bumblebees with conservation biologist Leif Richardson, one of the leaders of the California Bumble Bee Atlas.
- To back up a bit: the pandemic-era video conferencing service came under fire this week on grounds that, during its March launch of its generative AI-powered "Zoom IQ" features, it had rewritten its TOS to essentially make any and all "Customer Content" open-season for AI training.
With a View
Zoom wants you to know that it definitely, 100 percent hasn't been using your video calls to train its AI — even if its convoluted Terms of Service agreement seems to strongly suggest otherwise.
To back up a bit: the pandemic-era video conferencing service came under fire this week on grounds that, during its March launch of its generative AI-powered "Zoom IQ" features, it had rewritten its TOS to essentially make any and all "Customer Content" open-season for AI training.
By checking the agreement box, the updated TOS reads, users "consent to Zoom's access, use, collection, creation, modification, distribution, processing, sharing, maintenance, and storage" of user data for "any purpose" including "machine learning or artificial intelligence (including for the purposes of training and tuning of algorithms and models)."
You can't really get any clearer than that, and Zoom users, who seemed generally unaware of the update until Stack Diary first reported about the changes on Sunday, were unsurprisingly upset by the revelation. After all, if the TOS was updated back in March, how much of their private data — which may have included the content of Zoom therapy or telehealth meetings, corporate meetings, and intimate conversations — had been guzzled up by Zoom's AI?
In response to user backlash, the video conferencing service updated its policy with an even more confusing promise: "Notwithstanding the above, Zoom will not use audio, video, or chat Customer Content to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent."
Elsewhere, the company also published a blog post about AI transparency, where it further emphasized that it won't vacuum up video call data without user permission. But the "notwithstanding" note in the freshly updated TOS is still pretty vague about what the scope of "Customer Content" allows or disallows.
"By its terms, it's not immediately clear to me what is included or excluded," Chris Hart, the co-chair of the privacy and data security practice at the law firm Foley Hoag, told Vox. "For example, if a video call is not included in Customer Content that will be used for AI training, is the derivative transcript still fair game? The whiteboard used during the meeting? The polls? Documents uploaded and shared with a team?"
Overall, it's been a terrible look for the company, especially considering its past privacy scandals. But everyone wants a piece of the AI gold rush pie, and human-generated data is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity. As we enter this new, AI-laden technological era, maybe let this be a reminder to start checking the TOS.
More on AI and Privacy: Sarah Silverman Sues OpenAI for Copyright Infringement
The post Zoom Insists It Wasn’t Using Private Calls to Train AI System appeared first on Futurism.
As we exploit energy to KII and above or -1 and below, energy which is the primary concern now, will be of no concern then. One of the two main reasons to get smaller. The time travel between nodes is shorter, given similar substrates, and the cost of materials will be, well, miniscule.
- Instead of that germanium transistor weighing at least milligrams, think of the same functionality on a billionth of the power and able to handle a billion more throughput in femtogram quantities, superconducting has shown this to be possible. All so tiny lightspeed is effectively (in our terms) eliminated.
- Everything that can happen, does happen, infinitely. Welcome to at least 5 completely different infinite multiverses
Researchers at South Korea’s Quantum Energy Research Centre made a huge splash when they announced a few weeks back that they'd accomplished a potentially groundbreaking first: a "room-temperature ambient pressure superconductor."
In simple terms, superconductors can conduct electricity without any loss of energy. Conventionally, they need to be cooled to cryogenic temperatures or subjected to immense pressure.
But a new lead-based material dubbed LK-99, as detailed in the pair of yet-to-be-peer-reviewed papers, is meant to change all that, exhibiting what its creators say is perfect conductivity at temperatures up to a blistering 260 degrees Fahrenheit. It can even purportedly levitate above a permanent magnet, a telltale sign that it could be a superconductor.
The controversial research sparked plenty of criticism, with experts pointing out that such an extraordinary claim required extraordinary evidence — which simply hasn't materialized yet.
And more and more researchers are piling on, Science reports, the potentially revolutionary discovery is quickly being enveloped by a thick blanket of skepticism.
Is LK-99 too good to be true? If it holds up, the material could usher in a new era of levitating vehicles, vastly improve the efficiency of power grids, and more. But given the growing amount of evidence to the contrary, it's more likely that we're looking at a scandal — and not a glimpse into the future.
For one, experts say the data was presented in a haphazard and unconvincing way.
The two papers' authors "come off as real amateurs," Michael Norman, a theorist at Argonne National Laboratory, told Science. "They don’t know much about superconductivity and the way they’ve presented some of the data is fishy."
"I appreciate that the authors took appropriate data and were clear about their fabrication techniques," added Nadya Mason, a condensed matter physicist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. But the "data seems a bit sloppy," she told Science.
Shortly after the two papers were published, reports emerged that they had been "published without permission," indicating that the original authors didn't intend to publish them in the first place.
Meanwhile, over a dozen preprints have been shared on arXiv, theorizing about the existence of LK-99 and its purported ability to perfectly conduct electricity.
The outcomes vary significantly, as Science points out, from one team arguing the material would need to be even cooler than other conventional superconductors, while others hinted at the material's potential.
It's a growing scandal that has divided much of the scientific community. And until we see an independent verification of the researchers' data, we can only guess as to where the conversation will go next.
But given the increasingly predominant air of skepticism, we're not overly optimistic.
More on the discovery: Claim of "Room-Temperature" Superconductor Is Tearing the Scientific World Apart
The post The Claim of a Room Temperature Superconductor Is Starting to Look Fishy appeared first on Futurism.
- FIRRM cooperates with FIGNL1 to promote RAD51 disassembly during DNA repair | Science Advances
- This summer alone, the firm has seen resignations from its chief operating officer, chief information officer, head of research, and VP of engineering, just to name a few.
From fundraising more than $100 million at the end of 2022 to hemorrhaging top talent by mid-2023, Stability AI — the firm that funds and supports development of the open source Stable Diffusion image generator — has had a helluva year.
As Bloomberg reports, the San Francisco-based AI firm has had a bevy of issues, from accusations that its CEO Emad Mostaque doesn't know how to run a business to claims that the company hadn't paid a $70,000 bill.
Chief among Stability's difficulties is its talent exodus. This summer alone, the firm has seen resignations from its chief operating officer, chief information officer, head of research, and VP of engineering, just to name a few.
Though Mostaque insists that "churn" is a common practice in startups while trying to establish "cultural fit" between employee and company, interviews with several former and current people involved with the project say the CEO's lofty vision often doesn't match up to the reality of his day-to-day ability as a business leader.
A particularly eyebrow-raising claim, per multiple unnamed Bloomberg sources, is that the 40-year-old CEO has claimed he was employed as a spy for the
government. He also insists that he's spoken to more than one prime minister about building AI for nation-states.
This Bloomberg report isn't the first time the CEO's apparent propensity for embellishment has been in the news. Earlier this summer, Forbes published an exposé that highlighted his "history of exaggeration," and in its opening lines notes that Mostaque's claim that he has a master's degree from Oxford didn't hold up to scrutiny.
The latest reporting does note that there are multiple lawsuits against the company that seem to pinpoint Mostaque as the problem. Perhaps most salient is the suit filed last month by Stability AI cofounder Cyrus Hodes, who claimed the CEO convinced him to sell his 15 percent stake in the company for $100 after insisting that the company is "essentially worthless" — a suit that the firm has said is "without merit."
Big-picture salesmen are, of course, a dime a dozen in Silicon Valley. In some ways, it's difficult to distinguish what sets Mostaque and Stability apart from, say, Elon Musk.
Case in point: in a statement to Futurism, a Stability representative said that because the company "is in the innovation business," it is "well aware that any time a new path is taken in any field, there will be critics and skeptics."
"That reality is no different for the field of generative AI, which has taken the world by storm because of its potential to be the greatest disruptor of our time," the statement continued. "Stability AI is the only independent multi-modal AI company in the world. We remain focused on developing the best open language and image models for millions of users worldwide, and our work is just beginning."
Lofty vision is one thing, though, and losing a bunch of executives within a few months of each other is another. In the end, the real question will be whether Stability can continue to differentiate the software when Midjourney and OpenAI's DALL-E are looming large.
More on AI startups: Revenge of the Writers: AI Fiction Analysis Site Toppled by Revolt
The post The Company Behind Stable Diffusion Appears to Be Crumbling Into Chaos appeared first on Futurism.
Matters of the Heart
Electronic music artist, generative AI enthusiast and on-off Elon Musk partner Claire "Grimes" Boucher seems to want to build bridges between the tech billionaire and the trans community he's so alienated so relentlesslly.
In a wide-ranging new interview with Wired, Boucher mentioned that she'd had a "big, long conversation" with her kids' dad about "the trans thing," and came to a similar conclusion as she made when publicly replying to one of his transphobic tweets: that bigotry isn't in his "heart."
"I was like, 'I want to dissect why you’re so stressed about this,'" the artist, who also goes by the letter c, told the magazine. "Getting to the heart of what Elon says helps me get to the heart of what other people’s issues are, because it’s this über guy situation."
As a side note: the "über guy" in question didn't appear to begin being regularly hateful towards and about trans people online until news broke that Boucher was dating Chelsea Manning, the transfeminine surveillance whistleblower-turned-DJ . A few months later, one of his many children came out as trans and cut ties with him.
Grimes said that the conversation eventually revealed that Musk believes, somewhat erroneously, that "every way that you transition can cause fertility issues" — an unsurprising sticking point for the billionaire, who has fathered at least 10 children and is reportedly obsessed with fertility.
In fact, Boucher was able to play on Musk's fertility thing to make her argument against his bigoted commentary.
"I was like, OK, you don’t hate trans people, you hate woke culture. I get that it can be annoying, and you have concerns about the fertility thing," she explained. "So let’s figure it out, because there’s a lot of fertility tech that could be innovated that would help trans people have kids, which would be great and would solve a lot of problems."
Joke Mind Virus
Fertility tech is, of course, another of Musk's special interests. At least five of his 10 kids were conceived via in-vitro fertilization, including Exa Dark Sideræl, his second child with Grimes who was born to a surrogate.
"He’s just on Twitter, and he’s unhappy with woke people, and the arguments happened," the
-born singer told Wired.
Describing Musk as being "just on Twitter" is kind of like describing Robert Oppenheimer as just having been "just" in the New Mexico desert during the Trinity Test, and he seems to be more than a little "unhappy" with wokeness. But those are, of course, semantic arguments not unlike the ones Musk seems to keep getting into.
When the interviewer asked Grimes whether she's a "woke person," she replied that she probably isn't, but also doesn't "know what the term means."
The entire exchange is fascinating. And, like with most things Grimes, Musk is just a weird sidequest in the strange journey that is her life and career. It's certainly worth a read — but the Musk detour, as in her life, is one of the cringeiest parts.
The post Grimes Says She Asked Elon Musk Why He's So Obsessed With Trans People appeared first on Futurism.
A technique known as magnetic levitation can be used to easily collect and concentrate airborne viruses to help prevent future outbreaks of respiratory disease, researchers report.
Magnetic levitation, or maglev, is the same technology that enables high-speed trains.
“It’s very important to have real-time management and real-time predictions in place for viruses,” says Morteza Mahmoudi, an associate professor in the radiology department and precision health program at Michigan State University. “What we’ve developed is a system that could help us and other stakeholders get more information about the different types of viruses in the air we breathe.”
“This could help identify that an environment is contaminated before a pandemic happens,” says Sepideh Pakpour, an assistant professor of engineering who led the research team at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus.
In addition to serving as an early-warning system, the team’s new technique also could help health officials and epidemiologists better track and trace exposure to airborne viruses in public settings.
Maglev tech separates airborne viruses
The researchers first started this project applying magnetic levitation to respiratory viruses in 2018 with support from the Walsh Foundation and the New Frontiers in Research Fund. Almost half of lower respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses that people breathe in while indoors, the researchers wrote in their report.
But when the coronavirus pandemic started and as they learned that it was caused by an airborne virus, they knew they had to redouble their efforts. The team used a deactivated version of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 in their proof-of-concept report, along with H1N1 influenza and a virus that infects bacteria known as bacteriophage MS2.
The system first collects air samples, then injects the sample into a fluid where maglev separates viruses from other particles. The isolated and purified viral contents are then passed along to other standard analytical techniques for identification in a matter of minutes. The approach is so straightforward that it could be used by nonexperts in a variety of settings, such as clinics and airports, the researchers say.
The team is taking the first steps toward commercializing its technology while working to improve it at the same time.
Although downstream techniques can identify which viruses are in a sample, one of the team’s future goals is refining the maglev step to distinguish between different viruses on its own. The researchers also are working to heighten their technique’s sensitivity and detect viruses in air at lower concentrations.
Still, the team is excited by what it was able to accomplish in its initial work and by what it may enable other researchers to do.
“Using maglev for disease detection and purifying viruses is brand new, and it could open up applications in many different fields,” Mahmoudi says. “This opens up a fundamentally new direction in analytical biochemistry.”
From floating trains to virus detection
Magnetic levitation, as its name suggests, uses magnets to counteract the downward pull of gravity. Maglev trains float above their tracks and, unencumbered by that contact friction, can achieve speeds upwards of 200 miles per hour. While maglev trains have been around for decades, the use of magnetic levitation in biology is more recent.
For example, it was only within the last decade that Stanford researchers showed that living cells could be magnetically levitated in liquid mixtures or solutions. They then used the technique to show that various cell types—yeast, bacteria, healthy human cells, and cancer cells—could be separated by their density.
More recently, Pakpour and Mahmoudi have collaborated to show that maglev can be applied to proteins in blood plasma to look for indicators of opioid use and multiple sclerosis. That convinced them maglev also should work with viruses.
“If you look at the structure of viruses, they’re mostly proteins, and we knew we could levitate proteins,” Pakpour says. “So I knew this should work, but I was still surprised when it did.”
“It was very challenging, especially at the start,” Mahmoudi says. “Conventional maglev is not capable of collecting submicron viruses, but we made several modifications and were able to fine-tune the system.”
One of the challenges was that the liquids used in conventional maglev could damage or destroy viruses. The team had to find new solutions that had desirable magnetic properties and were compatible with their targets.
The challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic, but the emergence of COVID-19 showed the team how important its work was—and how resilient its members were.
“There were so many obstacles, even just getting samples to each other,” Pakpour says. “But we pushed forward. And, if we won that battle, I think we can win any other.”
The study is published in the journal ACS Nano.
Source: Matt Davenport for Michigan State
The post High-speed train tech quickly spots airborne viruses appeared first on Futurity.
Nature Communications, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-40491-8Axially chiral N-arylpyrrole motifs are privileged scaffolds in numerous biologically active compounds but asymmetric synthesis of N-arylpyrroles is challenging. Here, the authors develop a diastereo- and atroposelective synthesis of N-arylpyrroles enabled by light-induced phosphoric acid catalysis.
We all know that drinking water is key, but what is the best way to stay hydrated?
Does everyone need to drink 8 glasses of water each day? Will that morning coffee really dehydrate you?
Here, Holly Gilligan, a clinical dietitian at the University of Rochester Medicine’s fitness science department, weeds out the truth from the fable of a few common myths:
1. Myth: Everyone needs 8 glasses of water a day
While drinking 8 glasses (64 ounces/2 liters) is an easy goal to remember and can certainly be reasonable for some, many factors affect individual hydration needs. These include:
- Weather: When heat and humidity rise, we need to drink more.
- Sweat rate: This is the amount you sweat during a period of physical activity. To figure out your own sweat rate, weigh yourself before and after a workout. For each pound lost, drink 24 ounces of water. So, if you’re down two pounds after a training session, be sure to drink 48 ounces of water.
- Sweat type: This is the amount of sodium and other electrolytes in your sweat. To determine your sweat type, pay attention to your sweat stains. If you see white on your clothing (that isn’t from deodorant), you likely have a higher concentration of salt in your sweat. If that’s the case, consider rehydrating with a sports drink or adding a salty snack (like a pickle) to your post-workout water.
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding: Individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding will need to drink more water than they might usually.
- Overall health: Certain health conditions and diseases may require that you drink more or less water. Be sure to check with your doctor, particularly in the summer, if you have a condition that you think may impact your hydration needs.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 92-124 ounces of water daily for the average adult living in a temperate climate, prior to taking any of the above factors into account.
2. Myth: Caffeine makes you dehydrated
Caffeine does have a diuretic effect, meaning it increases urine production, which can cause dehydration if fluids aren’t replaced. However, coffee is mostly made of water, which actually balances out the diuretic effect when consumed in typical amounts.
The risk of dehydration comes with the use of caffeine supplements or drinking too much coffee throughout the day. The bottom line: there is no need to get rid of your morning cup of coffee if hydration is a concern. Instead, focus on where to add more caffeine-free fluids throughout the day.
3. Mostly true: Sports drinks are great for staying hydrated
This is mostly true. Electrolytes are minerals that help our bodies move and function, but they’re lost when we sweat. Sports drinks can help to replace them.
If you’re exercising intensely or spending a lot of time in hot/humid climates, pay attention to how much you sweat. If you’re sweating a lot, be sure to choose a sports drink that contains sodium.
For the average adult during rest and in a temperate climate, sports drinks aren’t needed. Plain water is enough to stay hydrated.
4. Fact: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated
Thirst is our body’s way of telling us we need more water. When exercising or in a hot climate, that signal shows up after our body is already in the early stages of dehydration. And the thirst signal is often quenched before our body reaches adequate hydration again, making it harder to catch up.
That’s why it’s best to drink water and other fluids at regular intervals throughout the day rather than relying on thirst to tell us when to drink.
5. Myth: You can’t have too much water
This is rarely an issue for most adults, but you absolutely can have too much water. However, it is possible. In August 2023, a mother of two passed away after drinking too much water too quickly.
If we drink more water than what our body needs, this dilutes our blood, decreasing the levels of sodium and other electrolytes. When electrolytes are diluted and our kidneys can’t keep up the right balance, it can lead to nausea, confused thinking, headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms. In extreme cases, too much water can be fatal.
Source: Elizabeth Beach for University of Rochester
Health risk of EG.5, which is related to Omicron subvariant, judged to be low but may drive larger wave of
-19 has been designated as a variant of interest by the
, although the public health risk has been judged as low.
The variant, known as EG.5 or “Eris”, is related to an Omicron subvariant called XBB.1.9.2, and is growing in prevalence globally, with countries including
, China and US among those affected.Continue reading…
An expedition using a deep-sea remotely operated vehicle has uncovered a hidden underground ecosystem below hydrothermal vents on the seafloor
Newly-published results of a large-scale trial found Wegovy, one of the brand names of the controversial weight loss drug semaglutide, appears to have substantial heart health benefits — findings that could finally convince insurers to begin covering the injectable medication.
In a press release, Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk asserted that the 2.4 mg dose of semaglutide — which differentiates Wegovy from Ozempic, its popular-yet-notorious 1 mg semaglutide counterpart that's become a household name for its weight loss effects — is associated with lowered risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in people over the age of 45 with higher body mass index (BMI) readings but no history of diabetes.
Specifically, it slashed the risk of heart attacks by 20 percent, the double-blind trial found. It also, of course, assisted in weight loss among those given the active drug instead of the placebo to lose weight.
The late-stage trial named SELECT began in 2018 and enrolled more than 17,000 people across six continents. While it's not the first to look into semaglutide's cardiovascular health benefits, its timing couldn't be better. The drug's popularity has soared even as insurers continue refusing to cover the $1,300-per-month medication for anything but diabetes — and some of those patients have seen their claims denied, too.
In an interview with the Financial Times, BMO Capital Markets analyst Evan Seigerman argued that the findings of this landmark trial would make it "unethical" for insurers to continue refusing to cover semaglutide drugs, which include the brand names Wegovy, Ozempic, and Moujnaro.
The good news comes with caveats: SELECT trial's findings have yet to be peer-reviewed, and Novo Nordisk has only published the-top line summary of its findings. And concerns remain about some of the adverse health effects of semaglutide, and its problematic adoption by the problematic weight loss industry writ large.
Just a few weeks ago, CNN reported that doctors have increasingly seen patients who developed gastroparesis, a debilitating condition in which one's stomach becomes paralyzed, after they took injectable semaglutide.
Even without that extreme side effect, one of the scientists who pioneered the drug warned that its main mechanism, which suppresses appetite by mimicking the gut hormones released upon eating to fullness, can also straight up remove the pleasure of food.
"What happens is that you lose your appetite and also the pleasure of eating, and so I think there’s a price to be paid when you do that," Danish biomedical researcher Jens Juul Holst, a University of Copenhagen professor whose work led to the creation of semaglutide's predecessor, told Wired earlier this year. "If you like food, then that pleasure is gone. The craving for food for some people is taken away."
Holst insisted that people often don't stay on drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic because it takes away food pleasure, which could, in theory, effect the continued use of semaglutide for its heart health benefits, too.
Like the classic Billy Ray Cyrus meme, there's plenty more to consider regarding Wegovy than its manufacturers and proponents are letting on — but then again, anything that gets Big Pharma out from under the plausible deniability of not being able to cover patients? For anyone who doesn't work in Big Pharma: A straight-up win, caveats and all.
More on popular medicines: Adderall Shortage Culprit Finally Identified: Big Pharma, Of Course
The post Wegovy Trial Shows Incredible Results for Heart Health appeared first on Futurism.
- A study published in PLOS Water by Nicol Parker and Arturo A Keller at University of California, Santa Barbara, and colleagues introduces a new tool to help evaluate toxicity at high resolution and suggests that targeting a small number of pesticides in a few watersheds could significantly reduce aquatic toxicity in California's agricultural centers.
An expedition using a deep-sea remotely operated vehicle has uncovered a hidden underground ecosystem below hydrothermal vents on the seafloor
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02538-0An algorithm can design a shape to follow almost any repeating path downhill.
Welcome to Up for Debate. Each week, Conor Friedersdorf rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Last week, I put this question to readers: “Donald Trump is guilty of deplorable actions, under indictment for multiple crimes, and yet remains the most popular candidate with voters in the Republican Party’s presidential primary. Why do you think he is still their first choice?”
Replies have been edited for length and clarity.
Randall R. argues that Trump supporters earnestly desire national greatness:
The reason many support Trump (if you have the decency to listen to them) is because they want to make America great again, and there’s no one else close to matching Trump in both prominence and apparent ability to make what they’d say is the most promising and important part of America great, in the face of the internal conflicts that currently exist.
That’s an illusion spread by a politician, offering an addictive thrill that disconnects people from parts of reality. It doesn’t make America great. But making America great, recognizing how it has long been great and how it can be more great, remains important.
Listen to the Trump voters: the neglected, the deplored, the doomscrollers, the people who want to make something of themselves, those who want to raise their family in a better world. Those who vote against Trump fit these same descriptions. It’s essential, for people on opposing sides of what’s become Trump’s divide, to listen to each other with respect, so we can build our way out of America’s problems without being exploited by political operators. You or I have no shortage of illusions in our parts of the political spectrum; shouldn’t we be reexamining those illusions instead of looking down on Trump’s followers?
Bob puts forth a theory of populism:
Populist movements arise from widespread dissatisfaction with cultural and economic conditions and the inability of the government to deal with public concerns. This is fertile ground for charismatic and authoritarian leaders offering quick and simple solutions. Though Trump may be a person of low character, to many of his supporters, he seems like the sort of fighter that is needed—someone who does not follow the rules because the rules are believed to be the problem. James Madison would be sad and disappointed.
Jaleelah analyzes what she sees as the incentives of Trump supporters:
Trump’s supporters sincerely believe that he is being framed, not only because he has been priming them for his conviction for years, but because they have to believe it lest they become severely depressed. Imagine dedicating yourself to a false religion or an unfulfilling career or a bad partner. Imagine losing relationships with your lifelong friends and your adult children who strongly disagree with your choices. When you’ve committed to something at a great cost, it is hard to admit that your commitment was all for nothing.
I don’t think it is strange that so many people insist Trump is innocent. I do, of course, believe he is a fraud who is corrupt enough to have committed the crimes he is accused of. But genuine revolutionary figures get locked up on fake charges all the time. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were charged, convicted, and imprisoned. Most reasonable people alive today believe their imprisonments were unjust and that states are capable of fabricating evidence against popular figures who threaten the social order. Trump’s supporters are simply applying a reasonable idea in an unreasonable context.
Liberals and progressives do not seem keen to accept repentant Trump supporters. There is little benefit to switching teams. There is a very high cost. Towns that have unified behind Trump are just as keen on cancel culture as their liberal counterparts. No one wants to be confronted by a horde of their neighbors at church or accused of supporting degeneracy at the grocery store. Peer pressure is probably keeping a lot of people in line.
Dan argues that “most people assume that voters look at a candidate’s record and personality,” but “what really matters is whether a candidate gives a voter an identity.” He explains:
The voters are, because of their support for a candidate, a “somebody.” Trump has done this better than any candidate in 50 years. To voters whose worlds have been destroyed by elites, Trump says: You matter. Become a part of this movement and you are standing up to the elites. You can get your life back with me, and be a SOMEBODY again. Trump’s legal cases are easily rationalized as the price he has been willing to pay, personally, to represent all of the people who see him as validating their lives and giving them identities once again. To his supporters, he is sacrificing for “the cause.”
Christopher scolds Trump’s critics for what he sees as a failure to understand their country:
Trump supporters believe that the economic and cultural game is rigged. Trump supporters disagree with teaching little children about gender or allowing gender-reassignment care to impressionable minors and are branded with a pejorative label for it. They see branding that Florida law as “Don’t say gay”––despite the fact that a majority ofAmericans
would likely support the content and intent of Florida’s efforts to ensure age-appropriate instruction––is wrong. Similarly, when someone supports law enforcement or opposes affirmative action, they are labeled “racists,” even though there are principled reasons to take issue. Trump has tapped into the frustration that comes from playing a rigged game. Trump supporters see Trump as challenging the cultural and economic system that excludes them and their views.
The elites and media need to stop dismissing Trump supporters as some fringe group. Trump received more votes in 2020 than did Obama [in 2008] and came in second in 2020 only to Biden. The 2024 election is likely to be close. The issues Trump has tapped into are not fleeting.
Geoff describes a type of voter he has observed as a retail manager in Colorado, in a store that catered to a Trump-voting demographic:
They are white, working-class, and very knowledgeable about stuff and fixing it, but they don’t value education as it is systematized in America. They are very transgressive in their everyday language but are model citizens overall. The most notable sentiment, for me, was commonly phrased as, “Wouldn’t it be great to vote for a POTUS sitting in prison?!” They defend him out of reaction: It’s “unpopular,” and they are raging against the machine. Think if supporting Nixon was the most “punk rock” thing you could do.
Patricia shares how she became a Democrat and describes some Trump supporters she has observed:
I’m 90 years old, a retired hospital administrator. My late husband and I were brought up in Republican families in California and voted that way until we watched Bill Clinton’s impeachment and witnessed the mean streak and hypocrisy of the Republicans.
We have voted for Democrats ever since.
My co-grandma is currently 89. She immigrated from Argentina at the age of 22, so you’d think she’d recognize authoritarians when she smells them, but no, she likes Trump. She loved watching The Apprentice and watches Fox. And her friends email around crazy stuff they find online. She has a Ph.D. in education and taught at a university for years.
I have a 65-year-old in-law who lives in Orange County, California, and has a successful business. A smart man, but not formally educated. He is a Trump supporter because of taxes mostly.
My granddaughter and her husband recently moved to northern Idaho from the Seattle area because they don’t like the regulations in Washington State. They think Trump is not a nice man but are pretty well aligned with libertarianism—they don’t want government interfering in their freedom, so they think Trump is the only choice. Both are college graduates.
And beyond them, I’ve observed that there are people with a seemingly “genetic” trait who simply enjoy seeing a person “stick it” to others. Trump is exceptionally good at ridicule.
Nick thinks his experience of being young and right-leaning helped him understand support for Trump:
Pre-2016, I identified as a conservative. While in college, if I tried to offer a different opinion on topics such as immigration, I felt ridiculed and looked down upon. I decided my two options were to be met with scorn or to hold my tongue. I know I wasn’t the only one. My good friend started a club to bring liberals and conservatives together to talk about major issues. He did everything he could to get conservatives to show up but just couldn’t get it to happen. I am not surprised because I don’t think I was the only conservative who felt like they couldn’t share out of fear of being “canceled” or called a racist or bigot for not going along with the mainstream liberal line. Perhaps Republicans are rallying around Trump despite his egregious undemocratic and immoral acts because they see themselves in him, a conservative being constantly ridiculed by liberals for his beliefs, except he actually speaks up. I don’t think all conservatives are power-hungry autocrats like Trump, and I don’t think most of them share his views. But I do think that we tend to support someone when we see ourselves in them. Identity politics play in both parties; maybe we’re just seeing the conservative version.
T. argues that we’re witnessing a reaction to cultural change:
I’m an architect in a progressive city out west. I abhor Donald Trump, but I understand why my in-laws in Tennessee support him without reservation. What’s mystifying to me is that so many bright, liberal folks of my acquaintance don’t grasp it. Do you recall the deafening silence after the 2016 election, when Hillary lost to the worst presidential candidate in American history? There were a couple of months of serious self-examination among Democrats, but it quickly cooled, and I haven’t heard anything like it since.
I think our lack of understanding is due to the inability of most of us to put ourselves into the shoes of disadvantaged Trump voters. What you’d see coming your way is an all-consuming political, economic, and cultural wave––one that represents not only change, but also disdain for your way of life and destruction of your sense of who you are. I’m not saying that’s true, but the impression is very real. It’s cultural imperialism, which we understand very well when we talk about gentrification, but we miss completely when the encroaching force comes from our side of the fence. After all, how would we feel if confronted by a way of life that mocks our religion, siphons up our brightest young people and convinces them we’re hopelessly ignorant, sells us out to the global economy, promotes behavior that’s been taboo for thousands of years, and cancels us if we disagree? It fits with the experience of Indigenous cultures that were overrun by modern industrial society during the past 250 years. Those Tennesseans are being sold a bill of goods by a flimflam man, but we set them up for it.
JP describes the Trump support of his loved ones:
They do not go to Trump rallies, nor do they look or sound like those abhorrent Trump supporters you see in interview-reel compilations. They are compassionate, kind to strangers, and even have friends in people of all political stripes. We are a racially diverse bunch: Black, Hispanic, and white. And yet, these same people believe in their bones that for every lie Donald Trump has told, the liberal media has told more. For every crime Donald Trump has committed, the liberal elites in our politics and culture have committed more.
And regarding his claims of election fraud, despite lack of hard evidence, they feel in their gut that he is right on some level. I doubt I could do or say anything to convince them otherwise.
Paul describes the pull of tribes:
Part of being a human being is wanting to belong. One way we do that is to identify with someone or something. Passionate sports fans are a good example. And once we link our identity, our sense of who we are, to those teams, we look at everything about those teams through a positive perspective. People have identified with Trump and now their well-being and self-image are tied to him. That prevents them from viewing any reality other than the one that he creates. It will take some sort of disruption to break up with him, but it doesn’t look like that will occur. When their identity is at risk, the most comfortable path is to stay with Trump and distort new data to fit their views.
Michael believes that demographic insecurity is a factor:
I suspect that support for Trump is rooted in people’s fears of becoming a minority and suffering economic demise due to competition from immigration by humans who are unlike them.
Tim believes that Trump’s appeal is even simpler:
Give someone a reason to feel good about their anger and resentment and you can gain their loyalty.
So many of my friends are what I’d call “garden curious.” The dream is simple: ample backyard space where they can grow their own food, compost, and live out their most cherished ideas for a greener life. The reality: Time and space are limited.
But no one needs to wait for the perfect conditions to grow something. In my own experience with Lazy-Girl Gardening, I’ve seen the best results when I’ve embraced low-stakes experiments focused on food I love. I have grown tomatoes, peppers, lettuce greens, and herbs in my apartment; today, lemon-balm and mint plants I started from seed adorn my kitchen windowsill, and for the past two summers, I have grown sungold tomatoes in containers on the sliver of concrete I refer to as my “terrace.” Though it won’t bear fruit for the next five years, my pride and joy is a three-foot-tall plant I grew from a grocery-store avocado’s pit.
Growing vegetables at a modest scale allowed me to reduce the carbon emissions associated with my diet in a small but meaningful way. My plants have saved me a few trips to the grocery store, to buy food shipped in from far away. It has also reconnected me to a sense of seasonality. And gardening, no matter the scale, is downright relaxing.
Even if you don’t have an expansive permanent space to garden, consider following these three principles to start. Practical apartment gardening is an exercise in living better right now, instead of waiting for the right circumstances. The climate is changing fast enough that the best conditions for gardening might be whenever you start; paying attention to plants and how they grow will put you that much more in touch with those shifts.
Embrace the Small
In the world of plant-based lifestyles—think juicy monstera plants spread across the pages of Homes & Gardens and viral photos of Oprah harvesting ginormous vegetables—bigger is better. Against the standard established by the backyard jungles of HGTV, which I watched obsessively as a newbie gardener while living in an 1,100-square-foot unit that I shared with two roommates, any plants I grew suddenly looked meager.
Hoping to compete with plant parents in my circle and, yes, Oprah, I began to devise ingenious ways to grow plants in the limited space I had. I lined my room almost wall to wall with plant projects: a few attempts to grow peppers here. A trial of various broccoli varieties there. I even installed two hanging baskets in the ceiling, hoping to use the vertical space to grow butterhead lettuce. One day I awoke and couldn’t open my bedroom door. If I didn’t start thinking smaller, I’d be living on top of my plants, instead of among them.
Embracing small plants inevitably means embracing container gardening and the plants that are well suited for it. In pursuit of the biggest, lushest veggies, I’d failed to consider their sunlight and spatial needs. Plants that have a wide spread (lettuce), grow tall (peppers), or have deep root systems (carrots) aren’t necessarily ideal for confinement. I ditched the large, leafy plants. I went with herbs.
“When it comes to getting people interested in gardening, I always start with herbs because it’s something that most people are familiar with, and they grow well in small spaces,” Cynthia Nazario-Leary, an environmental horticulture agent in northern Florida, told me.
As a daily tea drinker, I wanted to grow herbs that I could easily harvest, dry, and steep. That meant lavender, which can grow indoors year-round, and mint, which grows at weedlike speed. These thrived beautifully in full sun, planted in separate pots. As I became more comfortable growing on a smaller scale, I expanded into cilantro and rosemary, which I cook with frequently. When my mint and cilantro started to wilt in the colder months of winter, I misted their leaves in between waterings to retain their moisture. This intentional act of care made me mindful of how my own needs shift in the winter, when shorter, frigid days make me crave sunlight and warmth.
If you’re dead set on growing vegetables, containers can still work. But not without trade-offs. If you don’t mind sacrificing some space, using large planters (five gallons or bigger) allows you to accommodate a broader range of plants with varying root depths and leaf spans. Fabric grow bags are a lighter alternative to plastic or terra-cotta pots but can dry out your plants, so you’ll need to water more frequently. My favorite container-gardening hack is to reuse containers that I’d otherwise throw away. Takeout containers are great for this, but you can also use plastic margarine or yogurt containers and milk cartons. After adding some holes in the bottom for drainage, you now have a solid container in which to start vegetable seedlings, propagate ornamental plants, or even grow microgreens.
Container gardening does require a little more thought than just sticking a plant in the ground, in the sunlight, if your goal is to reduce your carbon emissions. I use organic, peat-free potting-soil mixtures in all of my containers, for instance. Many commercial potting soil contains peat moss, commonly sourced from bogs in Canada, which are exceptional carbon sinks. Harvesting any amount of peat has potential climate impacts. And as Nazario-Leary told me, “Plants that develop fruit or flowers require a lot of energy in the form of sunlight,” so growing plants like tomatoes and peppers indoors might mean you need to “invest in a good LED grow light.” Although LED bulbs are more efficient than incandescent lights (which are now functionally banned in most cases, although that does not apply to plant lights), these energy inputs add up.
In addition to seeds, you can also grow new plants from old ones. Instead of tossing out the tips or ends of grocery-store root vegetables, I chuck them in water to encourage root formation, then transfer them to small pots in a sunny window. Plenty of us played around with this during the pandemic: For me, it worked especially well with staples such as garlic, ginger, celery, green onions, lettuce, and potatoes. I now regularly replant the white tips of grocery-store scallions and a few lettuce cores so I can harvest clippings for my cooking over several months.
Using food scraps as gardening material is a simple way to reduce your household food waste and extend the life of your groceries. Anne-Marie Bonneau, a chef and zero-waste-cookbook author, regularly recycles food scraps to regrow food directly or to use as compost.
“As I’m prepping in the kitchen, it costs me nothing to set my scraps of green onion or leek aside, to soak in water and regrow in my kitchen,” Bonneau told me. Growth-inhibiting chemicals may be present on commercially grown vegetables, especially potatoes, but a thorough wash with soap and water should remove these.
All of this does have good climate math. Most produce grown in
travels about 1,500 miles before it’s sold. Containers and packaging generate 82 million tons of waste each year, according to the EPA. The non-compostable produce stickers, mesh bags, and clam shells associated with fruits and vegetables certainly don’t help. Bonneau, who has committed to a plastic-free life, ticked off for me the pluses of growing plants; they “eliminate packaging waste, shave off some food miles from what you’re eating, and save a few dollars.”
But gardening isn’t just about avoiding emissions: In the end, small experiments like these will change your carbon impact only a small amount. But I do it anyway. I may not be changing the climate with my small projects, but I do notice how our climate is shifting, and understand it more viscerally because I garden. As Robin Wall Kimmerer, a plant ecologist and author, wrote, “Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.”
Stay in Your Zone
As much as I loved the challenge of growing plants in my apartment, when I received a slot in a nearby community garden after a three-year wait, I couldn’t believe my luck. Without thinking, I immediately replanted my indoor herb experiments—my rosemary, lavender, cilantro—in my new garden bed, hoping to capitalize on the longer days of sunlight and rainfall of early spring. But a week later, most of my herbs had turned to withered tendrils.
This new garden was a crash course in the importance of growing seasons. In my neck of New England, evening temperatures drop below freezing well into May. My rosemary plants especially had no chance against the spring frost.
Since this setback, I’ve become obsessed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which categorizes every region in the country based on plant-growing conditions. The lower the zone number, the colder the temperatures in winter. In my region, hardiness zone six, beans, broccoli, lettuce greens, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes do well in a growing season from May to October. For gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, which spans zones three through eight, winter vegetable production is possible thanks to oceanic weather patterns that bring more rainfall. Growers in the Southwest, zones six through nine, should plant vegetables like okra, peppers, and eggplant, which grow well in the region’s hot and sunny conditions.
Gardening indoors can help control the temperature, but there will always be some limit to what you can grow based on where you live. Becoming more familiar with growing seasons and bioregions gave me new awareness of the global food system that allows me to enjoy a tropical mango in December. Now I eat more in alignment with my region’s growing season—prioritizing my own food and farmers’ markets when I can, opting for winter squash and root vegetables in colder months—which has pushed me toward a plant-based diet. For the average American, buying locally might achieve as much as a 4 to 5 percent reduction in household greenhouse gas emissions, although other dietary changes—namely eating less meat—are a more powerful way of shrinking your carbon footprint. If you grow a few herbs and then eat a steak for dinner every night, you’re missing the point.
Caring for the plants that feed me gives me a deep sense of place and the ways in which New England is changing. A 2021 study revealed that New England is warming faster than the rest of the planet; experts predict that global warming will lengthen the region’s growing season. This could mean opportunities to produce fruits and vegetables that were previously difficult to grow, but also more extreme weather events and pests that can destroy crops.
Gardening has made these changes apparent to me. Having lost a few crops to sunscald from hotter days, or from blight and leaf miners, which now appear with greater frequency, I worry about farmers facing these challenges on a larger scale. Growing my own food in scrappy, small ways that honor the ecology of where I live reminds me just how much my own health as a human rests on the health of the plants that we grow.
This story is part of the Atlantic Planet series supported by HHMI’s Science and Educational Media Group.
The gold rush into AI has sparked frenzied and at times misguided behavior from companies, from deploying AI to write badly written articles to firing therapists and replacing them with bots that give terrible advice.
Now add stealing corporate intellectual property to this list. Employees at Arthur AI, a company that helps other businesses optimize their AI models, are pointing fingers at rival company Arize AI for trying to steal corporate secrets during a Zoom presentation, according to the New York Times.
While outré, this kind of behavior wouldn't be entirely surprising. Olivier Toubia, a Columbia University professor of business innovation, told the NYT that since the dawn of the tech industry, rival companies have fought bitterly over ideas — like the storied rivalry between Apple and Microsoft.
Another recent example is FriendliAI, a Korean tech company that's suing another AI business, Hugging Face, for alleged patent infringement.
"We know people would do crazy things to get ahead," said Toubia.
But stealing intellectual property during a Zoom meeting? It's not a good look, especially as the topic of ethics dominates the conversation about AI.
The accusation is that Yan Fung, who claimed to be the head of technology at a startup called OneOneThree, contacted Arthur AI last year and asked for a demo, according to the NYT.
During a Zoom presentation on Arthur AI's technology, the story goes, Fung said that another colleague, Karina Patel, would join the meeting. But when the other colleague showed up, the name of Aparna Dhinakaran appeared on the screen, the NYT reports — the name of the founder of rival company Arize AI.
With Arthur AI employees suddenly noticing that something was amiss, Fung's "colleague" abruptly left the virtual meeting, with Fung saying that he didn't know Dhinakaran, according to the NYT. Arthur AI employees, puzzled over the weird presentation, speculated that Yan Fung is actually an alias for Dat Ngo, an employee at Arize AI.
While it sounds like a clumsy, bush league attempt at corporate espionage, people should expect more similar shenanigans in the AI tech world as companies vie for capital, talent, ideas and power in the coming years.
More on artificial intelligence: Almost Three Quarters of
The post AI Startups Are Openly Engaged In Corporate Espionage appeared first on Futurism.
Dry conditions and strong winds set the stage for the disastrous wildfires that tore through the historic town of Lahaina and other areas of Hawaii
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02537-1A survey of 33,000 Europeans suggests overall support towards refugees has slightly increased, and how to get shapes to roll down wiggly paths using mathematics.
- Then in 2022, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes over a decade’s-worth of tax credits for clean electricity sources.
This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections
To slash U.S. emissions of climate-warming carbon pollution, many experts have settled on a plan that can be largely described in two steps: Clean up the power grid and electrify everything.
If electric vehicles, heat pumps, induction stoves, and some industrial processes can be powered by clean electricity and replace fossil-fueled alternatives, that transition will do most of the work toward decarbonizing the economy and helping the U.S. meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement.
Carbon pollution from the U.S. power sector had already been declining, albeit too slowly to meet the country’s Paris commitments. Then in 2022, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes over a decade’s-worth of tax credits for clean electricity sources. That financial certainty along with the rapidly falling costs of solar and wind power and energy storage are set to unleash an explosion of clean-energy deployment in the coming years.
A plethora of energy modelers and renewables and financial experts have published reports and studies projecting just how quickly this transition will occur. The consensus is that the amount of solar and wind generation in the U.S. will nearly double between now and 2025 — and then nearly double again by 2030, supplying about half the country’s power by the turn of the decade.
But a variety of complicating factors create uncertainty around that precise number, and it’s still not enough to meet the U.S. Paris commitment to reduce its carbon pollution to net zero by 2050.
Breaking clean energy records every year from now on
2021 was a record year for clean energy installations in the U.S., with about 13 gigawatts of wind and nearly 24 gigawatts of solar power capacity installed. Those numbers dipped a bit in 2022 due largely to supply chain issues but have begun to rebound in 2023. Experts expect their growth to continue, with supply chain issues largely resolved and the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy tax credits now available.
A recent study published in the prestigious journal Science looked at the clean energy growth forecasts from nine energy systems models, including those from groups at Princeton, Energy Innovation, Rhodium, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. To gauge the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact, the models were run with scenarios in which the bill did not become law, then compared to the model forecasts of a post-Inflation-Reduction-Act world.
The U.S. currently generates about 40% of its electricity from low-carbon sources, including 18% from nuclear power, 10% from wind, 6% from hydropower, and 5% from solar. The models projected that even in the absence of the Inflation Reduction Act, those numbers would grow to about 50% clean electricity in 2025, 55% in 2030, and almost 60% in 2035 simply due to the growth of cheap solar and wind.
But when the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy tax credits are factored in, solar and wind energy growth are supercharged. In this new reality, the models forecast that the U.S. low-carbon electricity numbers will grow to 54% in 2030, 73% in 2030, and over 80% in 2035. That includes a near-doubling of solar and wind generation from 15% of U.S. electricity to about 28% in 2025, 50% in 2030, and 60% in 2035.
Most of that growth will likely come from new utility-scale solar farms, thanks to their plummeting costs. Forecasts from the Energy Information Administration, Morgan Stanley, and a joint analysis by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association all project that the U.S. will install about 63 gigawatts of new solar capacity by the end of 2024. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission similarly identified 78 gigawatts of solar and 20 gigawatts of wind power with a high probability of being built by mid-2026, with the potential for much more. The commission projects that nearly 90% of new energy capacity added during the next three years will be low-carbon and that more fossil fuels may be retired than are added to the grid during that time.
In short, the record 24 gigawatts of solar capacity added in 2021 will likely be broken in 2023 — and in every subsequent year for the foreseeable future.
Recent and projected future annual solar photovoltaic power generation capacity installed in
Factors that could slow the clean energy transition
But some roadblocks remain that create uncertainty about just how fast the U.S. will build all of this new clean power. Inadequate electrical transmission infrastructure is chief among them and the subject of ongoing permitting reform negotiations in Congress.
As of this writing, there’s more power stuck in the “interconnection queue” than exists on the entire power grid. These are projects awaiting an assessment regarding whether the grid can handle their added power, or whether the developers would need to pay to build more grid capacity. Under today’s conditions, it takes a decade on average to build a new electrical transmission line in the U.S.
An analysis by energy modelers at Princeton found that if the U.S. continues to build out transmission infrastructure at the recent slow rate of 1% to 1.5% expansion per year, 50% to 80% of the Inflation Reduction Act’s potential climate pollution cuts could be squandered because of the inability to connect new clean energy to the grid. Doubling that rate from 1% to 2% per year would more than double the solar and wind energy that could be built. Congress and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are working on measures to speed up that transmission infrastructure build-out, but it remains to be seen how successful these efforts will be.
The amount of solar and wind energy that could be added to the U.S. power grid annually if transmission infrastructure is expanded at a rate of 1% per year (purple), 1.5% per year (orange), or 2% per year (blue). Created by Dana Nuccitelli using data from Princeton REPEAT.
Changes in net-metering policy in California that will reduce the payback by 75% for sending extra solar energy back to the grid are also expected to slow the deployment of residential installations in the state, which ranks No. 1 for installed rooftop solar. And the Biden administration’s temporary suspension of tariffs on solar panels imported from China and Southeast Asia is set to expire in June 2024, which could result in higher solar panel prices and thus could somewhat hinder their deployment.
A bright future for clean energy
Although these factors create some uncertainty around exactly how fast U.S. solar and wind energy will grow, there is nevertheless a consensus among experts that their deployment will proceed at a record-breaking pace. Solar and wind power are forecast to generate between about 35% and 55% of domestic electricity by 2030 and 45-65% by 2035. Other low-carbon sources like nuclear power and hydroelectricity will likely account for a further 25% of power generation.
But without additional policy measures, energy models project that this progress will only reduce U.S. climate pollution by 33% to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching 43% to 48% emissions cuts by 2035. That’s about 10 percentage points closer to meeting the U.S.’s Paris commitment to curb climate pollution 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 than the country’s pre-Inflation Reduction Act path, but additional action will be needed to meet that target.
The disappearance of
Foreign Minister Qin Gang has generated a torrent of speculation about what might have happened to him. The mystery points to a larger, and disconcerting, truth: We understand very little about the inner workings of Chinese politics at a moment when we need to know more than ever.
China’s Communist regime has always been opaque. But the more China’s global power rises, the more problematic the Communist Party’s secrecy becomes. The decisions made in Beijing influence the wealth and welfare of billions of people, the health of the planet, and war and peace itself. Yet policy makers and diplomats around the world are too often left guessing about how these decisions are made, who is making them, and why.
The current Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, has further narrowed the already small window into the cloistered halls of power. “Secrecy is the default position of the Communist Party anyway, but it has been put on steroids under Xi,” Steve Tsang, the director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London, told me.
In the strained relationship between the United States and China, the dearth of reliable information about Beijing’s circumstances and decision making could lead to dangerous misunderstandings. “This is a real problem in U.S.-China relations,” Carl Minzner, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who specializes in Chinese government, told me. “You start to lose your appreciation for what is actually taking place in China and why,” with the result that “it is always easy to ascribe the worst narrative” to China’s actions.
The missing minister is a case in point. Qin Gang is a well-known figure in Washington, where he previously served as ambassador to the United States before being promoted to foreign minister in December. He has been widely seen as an up-and-coming politician and a Xi loyalist. He was awarded a seat on the powerful Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in October.
In early July, Qin failed to appear at several important diplomatic meetings. China watchers took note as Beijing abruptly canceled a planned visit by the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, and as China’s foreign ministry later cited health issues as the reason Qin did not attend a summit with Southeast Asian nations.
Later that month, Qin was suddenly removed as foreign minister and replaced by his predecessor, Wang Yi. Two days after the announcement, the foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was asked about that decision at a briefing, and she offered no explanation, instead protesting the “malicious hype of this matter.”
The government appears to be confused about how to present Qin’s disappearance. After his dismissal, the foreign ministry began erasing Qin from its website, only to reverse course and restore the deleted references. Meanwhile, Qin’s whereabouts remain unknown. He has not been seen in public since June 25.
Tsang attributes the obfuscation surrounding Qin to the Communist Party’s tendency to place its own perceived interests ahead of concern for the international community or even the nation. “What the Chinese foreign minister does or doesn’t do, or what happens to him, matters to the rest of the world,” Tsang said. “Does the Communist Party, in particular its core leader, give much of a monkey for this implication for the rest of the world? No.”
China watchers have stepped in to fill the information void with debate and speculation about Qin’s apparent downfall. Conditioned by experience with official deception, many experts have suspected that something sinister is afoot. Perhaps Qin ran afoul of the party bosses and became the target of a purge, or was the subject of an investigation for unknown infractions. A narrative emerged that alleges Qin had an affair—and possibly a child—with a journalist at a Chinese-language television network. Though hardly moral paragons, China’s top leaders frown upon such personal foibles if they can potentially compromise the Communist Party.
But the sex-scandal saga could just as easily be utter nonsense. Qin so far seems to have retained his other, more influential, posts, including on the party’s Central Committee, which implies that politics may not be at play. Or that Xi has not yet decided on Qin’s ultimate fate. Or that the party is trying to deflect criticism from Xi, who elevated Qin over more experienced officials, in the hope that the controversy blows over.
Or … who knows. But therein lies the big point. If the world’s best China experts can’t figure out what happened to one of China’s most internationally recognizable officials, then imagine what else remains hidden behind the regime’s closed doors.
The party prefers it that way. Michelle Mood, a longtime China expert at Kenyon College, commented to me that the Qin affair reveals “the limits of the knowable with regard to China.”
Xi has consistently tightened the state’s grip on information within China. In recent years, censors have suppressed discussion of economic policy, LGBTQ issues, and even K-pop. Regulators recently finalized new rules for chatbots run by artificial intelligence that, though less stringent than an earlier draft, insist the content generated must be in line with the country’s socialist values. In May, authorities detained a comedian who told a joke about China’s military and fined the company he worked for $2 million—a sign of just how sensitive the state can be.
Xi’s government has shown heightened paranoia about what the world knows about China as well. Earlier this year, a prominent database of Chinese academic research curtailed foreign access to its platform. Vincent Brussee and Kai von Carnap, analysts at the Mercator Institute for China Studies, argued in a recent paper that a newly amended anti-espionage law could target “almost anyone who exchanges information with international counterparts” and that the aim is “to make the Communist Party the sole narrator of China’s story.” The state security ministry, in its first post on a social-media account, encouraged Chinese citizens to get involved in antispying efforts by spying on others.
Tsang argues that the trend toward greater secrecy is a consequence of Xi’s centralization of power. “Unlike in collective leadership, when the top leader can hide behind collective decisions, there is nowhere for Xi Jinping to hide,” Tsang told me. Exerting control over information through secrecy allows a strongman to protect his stature and to claim infallibility: “If nobody knows what actually happened, you were never wrong, because they can never find evidence to show that you were wrong,” Tsang said.
But in truth Xi has often been wrong, and China is suffering for it. His policies have contributed to a sagging economy, hostile relations with most of the world’s major powers, and growing pessimism about the nation’s future. With a shortage of good news to boast of, Xi preserves his political standing by wielding ever greater influence over narratives about China.
The effort to stave off criticism and bad news has led the leadership to treat topics of discussion that were once considered relatively safe ground—such as economic policy—as potentially threatening. To Minzner, the Council on Foreign Relations fellow, this rise in sensitivity toward formerly innocuous subject matter is evidence of a broader trend toward “securitization,” in which the system responds to economic and social pressures by locking down access to information. Put another way, according to Mood, the Communist Party’s “political legitimacy, no longer supported by a growing economy, is now based on censorship to control information and knowledge.”
The thickening shroud of secrecy is a problem not only for policy makers around the world, but also for those governing China. Domestic officials responsible for addressing the consequences of the country’s slowing growth and social pressures are not talking to one another, says Mary Gallagher, a specialist in Chinese politics at the University of Michigan. “I don’t think the system is as responsive as it used to be, and I think that will be very problematic based on how many problems it needs to solve in the next five to 10 years,” Gallagher told me.
In other words, Xi’s secrecy could imperil his ambitions for China and its role in the world. The Qin Gang mystery is thus a warning sign of profound and dangerous weaknesses in the Chinese political system that have emerged under Xi’s rule and are likely to continue to deepen.
The Qin affair “points to this issue of elite instability that I think we’ll see more of in China,” Gallagher said. “We don’t know the process by which the next leader is going to be chosen, and we also don’t know when the next leader will be chosen. That just makes the people who are jockeying for that position and of course the people around them just more prone to internal struggles.”
The world will likely have to guess at those machinations as well. “I really worry that we are moving into an era where people understand less and less what’s actually taking place in China,” Minzner told me. “I find it very difficult to figure out how this gets reversed.”
This article was featured in One Story to Read Today, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a single must-read from The Atlantic, Monday through Friday. Sign up for it here.
In 2015, a physical therapist named Nathan Dugan moved to Whitefish, Montana, and fell in love with the place. How could you not? The glaciers, the pine air, the small-town feel. Whitefish was always expensive: When he first got there, Dugan camped on and off for a month before he found an affordable home. But it got far more expensive during the pandemic, when wealthy retirees and digital nomads flooded the tiny town’s tiny housing market. Out-of-staters were making cash offers on homes, sight unseen. Airbnbs started going for Bay Area prices. Rentals dried up. This has become a familiar story across America, where the housing crisis has gotten so severe that even rural communities in northern Montana are feeling the pinch.
Here’s another familiar story: Seeking to capitalize on the real-estate gold rush, a developer proposed building a handsome 318-unit community just north of downtown, on Whitefish Lake. The property would include a series of low-slung apartment buildings and townhomes, including units reserved for low-income families. Whitefish’s residents freaked. Hundreds submitted letters to the town’s planning committee. Local philanthropists, some billionaires, reportedly threatened to pull their support from local nonprofits if city officials did not nix the proposal. Nearly 200 people showed up at a marathon public meeting, one of several, to argue about, and mostly against, the project: It would look too tall, pollute the lake, pollute the night sky with light, change the neighborhood’s character, stress the community’s schools and medical services, destroy wildlife habitats, and increase traffic, which would interrupt snow plows and endanger families fleeing from forest fires. The town rejected the proposal.
Dugan was at that meeting and left incensed. “There’s a gut reaction in places like this: All development is bad, and we need to stop any development to maintain what we have,” he told me. “But the people who showed up to that meeting were all older and generally very wealthy.” They made it sound like the new development would ruin their lives, he said. But those people were doing fine. They already had a home in Whitefish.
Here’s where things get different. NIMBYs have throttled the supply of homes across the country. In Montana, the state government was not just paying attention but primed to do something about it. At the same time that Dugan was steaming over his neighbors in Whitefish, analysts in Helena were worrying about the displacement of middle-class families, and politicians in Bozeman were hearing complaints about long commutes. “I can’t do a town hall in any community in Montana and not have the affordability of housing come up,” Governor Greg Gianforte told me. “Housing prices have just been out of control.”
Last July, Gianforte created a housing task force, bringing together homebuilders, politicians, experts, and advocates, including Dugan, who had gone on to found a housing nonprofit called Shelter WF. In October, the group delivered a series of proposals to state officials; in December, to local officials. Montana’s legislature debated a set of bills based on those recommendations. Then it passed them this spring. The state transformed its land-use policies. It set itself up for dense development. It did this on a bipartisan basis and at warp speed.
Montana’s just one state. But it did something—and maybe enough—to fix its housing crisis.
Over the past decade and change, the country’s housing shortage has spread from coastal cities to suburbs and satellite cities to rural communities and small towns in the Mountain West, the plains, the interior South. Fannie Mae estimates that the country needs 4.4 million more homes. The National Association of Realtors puts the number at 5.5 million. But the country is not building enough homes to close the gap, or even keep up with population growth.
Millions of families are stuck in apartments they do not want to live in, paying prices they cannot afford. Eventually, many decamp for low-cost, low-wage regions of the country. “Even before the pandemic, there was an increasing trend of people leaving expensive coastal areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York for more affordable places,” Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at Redfin, told me. “Then the pandemic hit, and the trend accelerated.”
In recent years, that migration has buoyed or battered Montana, depending on how you look at it. The state’s population surged 1.6 percent from mid-2020 to mid-2021, faster than that of 47 other states. Montana added nearly 20,000 residents while it permitted just 3,000 new single-unit homes. Home prices climbed by nearly 50 percent in a matter of months.
When the pandemic hit, Montana already had a housing shortage; in fact, it had a few of them. First, a dilapidation problem. Building new housing in Montana’s rural reaches is expensive, which leaves many residents occupying decaying and at times dangerous units. (This is a particular problem on Montana’s
Indian reservations.) “If you look at population numbers and counts of housing units in these rural places, it doesn’t look that bad,” Andrew Aurand of the National Low Income Housing Coalition told me. “But when you look at the quality of the housing, the safety of the housing, and the extent to which families are doubling up, the housing crisis is severe.”
Second, the tight market in resort, gateway, and second-home communities. Coastal-city billionaires and rich retirees keep buying up ranches and lodges in Montana. Their shmancy consumer spending creates jobs. But the people working those jobs end up living in campers close by or in homes far, far away, because there is just not enough housing.
Third, a shortage of affordable homes in Montana’s population centers, such as Billings and Missoula. “The math does not work” for homebuilders to create low-income housing anywhere in the country absent government subsidies, Jeffrey Lubell, the director of housing and community initiatives for Abt Associates, told me. The math especially does not work in Montana, where frozen ground shortens the construction season, and where a lack of skilled tradespeople drives up costs.
These problems collided with the state’s pandemic-era population surge. “I started looking around and thinking, Holy cow, prices are going up,” Christopher Dorrington, the director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the chair of Gianforte’s housing task force, told me. The state suddenly had a noticeable homeless population; town squares and vacant lots filled with tents in the summertime. All but the very wealthiest families started feeling strained. “You couldn’t move, because supply was so short,” Adam Hertz, a real-estate developer and former member of Montana’s house, told me.
Gianforte said that the answer was obvious to him: Montana had a supply crisis. It needed a supply solution. His task force soon figured out how to get Montana more housing: Make it possible for folks to build housing units by right, rather than having every development go through a miserable, expensive process of negotiation. Encourage dense development in already dense areas. Cut red tape. Indeed, Montana already had pretty loose building regulations, and legislators loosened them even further—functionally banning single-family zoning and preventing towns and cities from adding onerous zoning policies, among many other changes and investments.
“We obviously did not anticipate being able to get the big wins we did,” Kendall Cotton, the founder of the local think tank the Frontier Institute and a driving force behind the housing bills, told me. “We thought maybe there might be one bill that passed. We ended up getting almost everything that we were asking for.”
Montana’s policies aren’t perfect. There still isn’t enough incentive for developers to create low-income housing units, experts told me. Housing costs won’t decline immediately, because building takes time (and because high interest rates have frozen the development pipeline). Montana has weak tenant protections and too few resources for struggling renters, antipoverty advocates said.
Still, housing experts around the country are cheering. Montana now arguably has the most pro-development, pro-housing set of policies of any state. How did this policy phenomenon happen, and so fast?
The explanation has something to do with the nature of Montana’s housing crisis, and something to do with the nature of Montana itself. The fact that so many people in such a small state found themselves affected at once pushed legislators to act. “We were victims of our own success,” Hertz, the developer and former state representative, told me. “We’ve been having all of these discussions about how to get people to move to Montana and start a business here: How do we get more tourism in Montana? How do we get tech businesses here? We got the demand, and wow, we got caught totally flat-footed on the supply side.”
Politics, for once, helped too. Montana had lower housing prices and fewer roadblocks to development than other states to begin with. Republicans with a strong libertarian streak, like Gianforte himself, are a powerful bloc, and happen to be the kind of folks thrilled to slash red tape. Joining them were anti-sprawl environmentalists, student activists, urban-density advocates, real-estate developers, and antipoverty liberals, creating a coalition spanning from the far left to the far right. The fact that Gianforte pushed so hard on the issue and that Montana’s legislature meets only once every two years put more pressure on those elected officials to get something big done.
Yet perhaps the biggest motivating factor—one mentioned by nearly every Montanan I spoke with—was California. Montana did not want sprawl ruining its wildlands, as happened in the Central Valley and along the Pacific Coast. Montana did not want San Francisco’s sky-high inequality and huge homeless population. Montana did not want middle-class families squeezed out, as they were in Oakland and San Diego. Montana did not want to throttle its own economy, as the Bay Area did.
“If you have single-family zoning and bury your head, you will eventually face San Francisco’s problems. It’s not just the high cost of housing. It’s a high cost of living, wealth inequality, homelessness, and crime,” Fairweather of Redfin said. “All cities should look at San Francisco as an example of what happens when you do nothing.” Montana did, benefiting from California’s missteps and learning from its YIMBY advocates.
Many other communities are doing the same. Washington and Maine are banning single-family zoning, as Oregon did in 2019. A number of cities are allowing single-room-occupancy buildings, getting rid of parking minimums, and letting homeowners build second properties on their lots. YIMBY groups are blanketing the country, pushing for denser development. Dugan’s is one of them. He’s hopeful that the state’s new policies will increase the housing supply in Whitefish, where he and his partner just—finally—bought a home.
Media conglomerate G/O Media is hellbent on using AI to generate a flood of content that, so far, has been riddled with errors — and it's now telling staff that they shouldn't worry about all the negative press its publications have been getting as a result.
As The Wrap reports, the company's editorial director Merrill Brown is well aware of the ongoing trash fire, telling staff in an internal note that the company is committed to AI articles despite what he euphemistically termed "external commentary."
"All of us working on these initiatives are quite aware of the vast amount of feedback we received after the AI material was published in July," he wrote, adding that such "chatter" should be "dismissed."
G/O, which owns a number of media staples including Quartz, The AV Club, Jalopnik, and Gizmodo, has received a substantial amount of criticism for its fraught rollout of AI-generated content over the last several months.
For instance, a so-called "Chronological List of Star Wars Movies & TV Shows," published last month, was so terribly written and riddled with factual mistakes that it drew the open fury of Gizmodo staffers, who argued that AI content devalues their work and undermines their and their brand's credibility.
But now G/O is doubling down on its AI-generated content experiment by publishing a new flood of bot-created listicles.
An AV Club article about recent movie releases credited to "The AV Club Bot" claims to be "based on data from IMDb," according to an editorial note: "Text was compiled by an AI engine that was then reviewed and edited by the editorial staff."
Unsurprisingly, the content is nothing more than search engine fodder that adds very little in the way of discussion about upcoming movie releases. It's a lifeless chronological list of blockbusters that barely even tells readers what the movies are about.
"A kaleidoscopic reincarnation romance about two souls who meet in the afterlife and take turns living lives of their choice," reads one expectedly rote movie description. "Starring Michael Winslow, Martin Klebba, Lloyd Kaufman, and Mariah Salazar as Estelle."
"A teenager finds an alien beetle that grants him superpowered armor," reads a summary of "Blue Beetle" that even fails to point out that it's a DC Comics flick.
In short, it's a great example of bot-generated content that appears to be largely written for the scanning eyes of search engines, with the ultimate goal of goading unsuspecting readers into clicking the link and viewing ads.
"G/O Media has published another round of AI-generated articles today, against the wishes of the union," the union representing G/O Media and The Onion staff wrote in a Sunday statement."As a reminder, if you see 'bot' in a byline, don’t click the blog."
The union went on to list all of the articles in question, including a listicle of NC-17 movies that were released since 2000 and a Jalopnik slideshow of pictures that was presented with pretty much no commentary whatsoever.
"Work on this slideshow was performed by an AI engine," a brief description of the latter reads, the only written text to appear across 33 slides.
Unsurprisingly, the new deluge of ill-conceived filler was met with plenty of criticism.
"Sickening," writer Tammy Golden tweeted in response to the AV Club article, accusing G/O Media of "becoming pure corporate grossness."
Other users called the content "grotesque."
"G/O media driving off a cliff at 2.5 mph," quipped another user.
Despite the bad press, the move seems to be paying off — from a cynical traffic perspective, anyway — with the shoddy "Star Wars" article ranking in Google search results, even though it still contains errors and an egregious typo.
"It is absolutely a thing we want to do more of," Brown wrote in an internal memo obtained by Vox last month, referring to AI-produced stories.
"I think it would be irresponsible to not be testing it," G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller told the publication at the time.
Yet G/O journalists are adamant that "this is a not-so-veiled attempt to replace real journalism with machine-generated content," as one writer told Vox.
And it's not just G/O — the shift towards drab, bot-generated content is an industry-wide phenomenon.
More on journalism: People Are Spinning Up Low-Effort Content Farms Using AI
The post G/O Tells Staff Not to Worry About Everyone Mocking Their Horrible AI Content appeared first on Futurism.
Changing Its Tune
— one of the biggest record labels in the world — demanded the takedown of a song which used voice cloned vocals of its artists Drake and the Weeknd.
Now apparently changing its tune, the Financial Times reports that UMG has begun negotiations with
over how together they could license artists' melodies and voices for use in AI generated songs, with Warner Music also said to be in on the talks.
If the plans come to fruition, the result will be a tool that fans can use to deepfake their favorite musicians. Should they desire it, artists could choose to opt out of being included in the system.
"With the right framework in place," said Warner Music CEO Robert Kyncl at a Tuesday meeting with investors, per the FT, AI could "enable fans to pay their heroes the ultimate compliment through a new level of user-driven content… including new cover versions and mash-ups."
Under the Bridge
According to the report, music executives have learned from the last time the internet posed a thorny copyright conundrum: YouTube. The video platform, owned by Google, played host to countless user-made videos featuring copyrighted music.
After years of tiresome legal battles, the music industry came to a happy compromise through a lucrative deal with Google that earns it billions of dollars per annum for the use of its music.
Likewise, it was only a few months ago that UMG threw a hissyfit over fan-made deepfakes of its artists. But seeing the writing on the wall, it may now be happy to let cloned versions of music from artists under its thumb exist so long as it sees money from it — and better yet, Google money.
Artists signed to UMG may see it differently. Chief among the discontented of its star-studded lineup is Drake, who in April called out a viral remix of an Ice Spice song that used an AI-generated clone of his voice.
"This is the final straw AI," he wrote in an Instagram story.
For those artists that consider this a matter of principle, the choice to opt in or out may be little comfort.
UMG and Warner will hope to capitalize on supercharging remixes with AI through legitimate, paid channels. But this could normalize musical deepfakes at large, inviting even more of those who disregard legal permissions to get in on the fun, too.
Which is fine if you're a record label trying to make a buck off the widespread popularity, but a nightmare for artists that want to keep their voices free from AI-cloning. At that point, opting out may not even matter.
The post Google and Universal Music Reportedly Want to Monetize Deepfaked AI Songs appeared first on Futurism.
Eminent domain is a legal concept that the government has the right to expropriate private property for public use, in certain extraordinary situations.
As we all know on this sub, we are approaching an era where we will face catastrophic climate change, and potentially life altering advances in AI and energy technology. The displacement, both of climate refugees and the unemployed, could reach literally a billion people. From there, it seems inevitable that society will collapse. Our supply chains will break down, and the delicate system that maintains our industrial infrastructure will disappear. Potentially leading to the deaths of billions.
But we have all the technology we need to avoid this fate. Even if we must take drastic measures, such as rehousing hundreds of millions and adopting a form of universal basic income, we could do it. We could cut carbon emissions to zero if we funded enough R & D.
If we are threatened with extinction, then all of society’s assets should be available to defeat that threat. This includes corporate profits, which are-by definition-a financial gain beyond what it takes to keep a company running in its current state. So, I believe that the profits of all corporations are ours to use to save our society. It would be a moral abomination to allow our society to fail to appease a tiny group of geriatric shareholders.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06515-5R-loop dependent promoter-proximal termination ensures
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06492-9Dopamine and glutamate regulate striatal acetylcholine in decision-making
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06514-6Tautomeric Mixture Coordination Enables Efficient Lead-Free Perovskite LEDs
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06392-yExperiments in zebrafish and human tissues show that, during retinal morphogenesis, emerging photoreceptor cells migrate in a bidirectional manner, which lessens competition for space and helps to ensure that the retina is formed correctly.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06397-7Following testing of magnetic field effects on 97,658 flies moving in a two-arm maze and on 10,960 flies performing spontaneous escape behaviour (negative geotaxis), no evidence was found for magnetically sensitive behaviour in Drosophila.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06220-3Observations by the Curiosity rover at Gale Crater on Mars indicate that high-frequency wet–dry cycling occurred on the early Martian surface, indicating a possible seasonal climate conducive to prebiotic evolution on early Mars.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06272-5Climate-proxy data indicate that during the last glacial period in the Horn of Africa higher temperatures were associated with greater moisture availability, whereas during the current interglacial period, as well as historically, higher temperatures have been associated with increased drought.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06409-6Lactate produced by dendritic cells (DCs) suppresses T-cell-mediated autoimmunity through a mechanism in which lactate activates HIF-1α–NDUFA4L2 signalling in DCs and thereby limits DC-mediated pro-inflammatory responses such as the development of encephalitogenic T cells.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06211-4New experiments show that most carbonates in carbonate-rich crustal rocks survive devolatilization and hydrous melting in cold and warm subduction zones, demonstrating their role in driving the deep carbon and chlorine cycles since the Mesoproterozoic.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06423-8This study highlights the role of mitochondrial complex I-dependent NAD+ regeneration in directing lung epithelial cell fate during postnatal alveolar development by preventing pathological integrated stress response induction.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06400-1Improvements in European freshwater biodiversity occurred mainly before 2010 but have since plateaued, and communities downstream of dams, urban areas and cropland were less likely to experience recovery.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06306-yAn algorithm is developed to design a shape, a trajectoid, that can trace any given infinite periodic trajectory when rolling down a slope, finding unexpected implications for quantum and classical optics.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06417-6Surveys conducted in 15 European countries in 2016 and 2022 show stable attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees with different attributes over this period with a slight increase in support for asylum seekers in general.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06318-8Evidence is presented for a Pines’ demon as a three-dimensional acoustic plasmon in the multiband metal Sr2RuO4 from momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy using a collimated, defocused beam with high momentum resolution.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06394-wSurveys of reef change are combined with a unique 20-year time series of land–sea human impacts and the results show that integrated land–sea management could help achieve coastal ocean conservation goals and provide coral reefs with the best opportunity to persist in our changing climate.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06401-0The well-characterized HIV restriction factor TRIM5α also restricts orthopoxviruses and is countered by the viral protein C6 and the proviral activity of CypA, which in turn is antagonized by CsA and derivatives alisporivir and NIM811.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05995-9In the absence of reward, dopamine and acetylcholine levels in the striatum fluctuate in a phasic manner, with their dynamics autonomously organized by extra-striatal neurons.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06422-9Population differences in immune responses to
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06258-3It is reported using a consistent climate model that pure steam atmospheres are commonly shaped by radiative layers, making their thermal structure strongly dependent on the stellar spectrum and internal heat flow.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06420-xStructures of the
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06406-9Following a wide-ranging review of studies, reports and policies about nature’s multiple values, combinations of values-centred approaches are proposed to improve valuation of nature, address barriers to uptake in decision-making, and make transformative changes towards more just and sustainable futures.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02297-yAnalyses of sediment from a lake in eastern Africa reveal the relationship between temperature and moisture over the past 75,000 years, and hint at why climate-model projections in the Horn of Africa are at odds with modern trends.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02280-7Local human-derived stressors combine with global ocean warming to threaten coral-reef persistence. Simultaneous reduction of human-derived stressors that originate on land, such as coastal run-off, and sea-based stressors, such as fishing pressure, resulted in greater coral-reef persistence before, during and after severe heat stress than did reduction of either alone.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02488-7How has river quality in Europe changed over time? A detailed analysis of invertebrate data provides a picture of biological recovery from past problems, but also points to remaining challenges.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02335-9An algorithm has been developed for constructing a 3D shape that follows an infinitely repeating path as it rolls under gravity. The approach could have applications in quantum computing and medical imaging.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02378-yAnalysis of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 at single-cell resolution reveals marked differences across human populations that are caused by previous
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02512-wLocal management of run-off and fishing intensity bolsters reef health but is no match for climate-induced heatwaves.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02489-6It has long been thought that the fly Drosophila melanogaster can detect Earth’s magnetic field and offers an ideal system in which to examine this enigmatic sense. However, a rigorous replication of key studies fails to support this idea.
Nature, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02487-8Understanding the diverse ways in which the natural world provides value aids informed policy decisions. The generation of a detailed catalogue of this diversity, and ways to assess values, paves the way to a more sustainable future.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-40053-4Author Correction: Investigating subtle changes in facial expression to assess
Scientific Reports, Published online: 09 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-40238-xAuthor Correction: Fabrication of biochar-based superhydrophobic coating on steel substrate and its UV resistance, anti-scaling, and corrosion resistance performance
- Iris Kulbatski from The Scientist's Creative Services Team will be joined by the entire panel in an open question and answer session where presenters will address questions posed by the audience.
- Iris Kulbatski from The Scientist's Creative Services Team will be joined by the entire panel in an open question and answer session where presenters will address questions posed by the audience.